How to Educate Consumers and Sell More Stuff


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This year I needed to buy a new grill, so I scoured reviews and compared features online in an attempt to avoid making the mistake I made last time.

Four years ago I stupidly bought a cheap grill thinking I’d save a few shekels. What’s worse is I bought a big one because we entertain quite frequently and I wanted to be able to cook lots of food at the same time.

So first of all, don’t ever buy a cheap big grill.

The stupid thing was so flimsy and underpowered that you couldn’t really cook anything on cold nights. Turns out BTUs (whatever those are) are a big deal.

While disappointed with my purchase, I’m sufficiently thrifty (my wife calls it “cheap”) that I resolved to use the damn thing until I needed a new one.

Fast forward to a balmy evening last summer on which I was enjoying a delicious beer while cooking some steaks for a dinner party. As I took an ice cold sip of my Dos Equis (if you must know, I do think it made me more interesting) I heard a loud noise from my grill. Turns out the bottom had fallen out of my crappy BBQ!

Being someone who tries to learn from his mistakes (at least by the third time), I resolved that unless I was buying paper clips I’d do a little research before throwing down the Chargex next time. Figured I’d make fewer misteaks.(Sorry, that was lame).

Turns out, I’m not alone.

Research has shown that consumers are more and more self-directed when it comes to shopping. They research before they buy — especially with big purchases like barbecues.

So what does this mean for us marketers? We need to step up our game and educate consumers if we want to out-grill the competition.

Educate, Educate, Educate

If you’re selling something banal like baking soda, educating consumers isn’t likely to impact your bottom line.

For most other product categories though, education is crucial.

If you’re selling electronics you need to explain all your fancy new features.

If you sell food you should highlight its health benefits (unless it’s Pop Tarts in which case just man up and say “they’re terrible for ya, but man they’re good!”).

If it’s vacations it’s probably better if people understand where they’re going, where they’re staying, and what activities can save them from having to chat with their spouse for 7 days straight (oops, did I say that?).

The bottom line is, the more people know about your product or service the more likely you are to be part of their consideration set — or even the frontrunner.

“But They Don’t Listen!”

Okay, so we know we need to educate shoppers. The trouble is they aren’t waiting with bated breath for your next video or tweet.

In fact, for the most part they couldn’t care less.

So the question is: “what’s in it for them?”

If your answer is “nothing” you bet consumers won’t be all that interested in your messaging.

You have to offer value for consumers to be willing to engage with your brand.

Enter the Gamified Sweepstakes Promo

I know, you’re thinking people take two seconds to register for a sweeps and they’re gone. That’s true of a hit-and-run sweeps (you know, the kind with only two pages: Registration and Thank You). But a gamified sweeps will actually get people engaged and it’ll educate them about your value propositions while they play.


It makes it fun to learn about products.

No, this isn’t some kind of black magic. Just the simple fact that when you challenge people to test their knowledge or reward them for exploring product pages — they do it.

You have to make it engaging. And that’s where great promotion design comes in.

But you also have to make it worth their while. That means walking a mile in your target customer’s shoes so you can identify things that would be valuable to them.

By creating valuable content into which you nest your key messaging you’ll attract, engage, and educate consumers about why they should buy your stuff!

Link it to Sales

First off, I’d claim that having educated someone about the value propositions of your offering increases the likelihood that they’ll buy your product.

But sweeps can do more.

You can actually get people to buy your stuff by linking your promotion directly to sales.

You can reward them for buying your stuff with more gameplays. Or drive repeat purchases with collectible icons — just hand them out when customers checkout and reward them for completing a set!

Think about it — you educate customers on the benefits of your offering. Then you give them a reward if they buy it!

Why wouldn’t they do it?

The Bottom Line

Boring ads that are all about your brand aren’t going to attract anyone’s attention, especially not your target customer’s.

Nest your messaging into a gamified sweepstakes and you’ll attract, engage, and educate consumers about why they should buy your stuff.

Then reward them when they buy it and encourage them to buy more.

You’ll boost your sales, brand awareness, and purchase frequency.

Not bad right?

How about you? What are your favorite strategies for educating customers? Let’s talk about it in the comments below!

This post originally appeared on the Launchfire Blog

John Findlay
John is a founding partner of the digital engagement agency, Launchfire (est. 1999). In his too-many years in the business he's developed gamified digital engagement strategies & promotions for a mighty impressive list of leading marketers.


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